Gigantic carnivorous mollusks that have a long, torpedo shaped body and that move through the ocean using a jet of water forced out of the body by a siphon. At one end, surrounding a beak-like mouth powerful enough to cut through steel cable, the creature has five pairs of arms. One pair, thinner and longer than the rest, is used to catch food and bring it to the mouth. Just past the mouth are the eyes, which are the largest in the animal kingdom, getting to be as big as a basketball (18 inches across).
The giant squid happens to be the largest invertebrate on Earth. Its arms and tentacles are equipped with a series of suckers, each of with is surrounded by a ring of tooth-like projections. These suckers can latch onto other animals with tremendous suction, helping the squid capture its prey and defend itself against attackers such as the sperm whale.
No one knows exactly how and where the giant squid, or Architeuthis, lives. Carcasses have been found floating or washed ashore in different places around the world, and also have come up in deep-sea trawls with hauls of fish, but regardless of many attempts by oceanographers and scientists, nobody has ever seen a giant squid in their natural habitat, the deep sea.
Giant squids are hunted by the sperm whale. Many have been seen in battle, and beaks and tentacles have been found inside sperm whale's stomachs. There is at least one eye-witness report of a smaller whale being drowned by the giant squid.
How big can a giant squid get? The largest complete specimen found so far stretched to 60 feet, but estimates based on damaged carcasses range up to 100 ft, and a report from World War II describes a squid that would have been a staggering 175 ft long.
It is likely that the legend of the Kraken and other sea monsters, such as the Sea Serpent, have been based on sightings of the giant squid. In 1875 the barque Pauline spotted a sperm whale with a snake-like creature wrapped around its mid-section. The crew reported this sea serpent eventually dragged the whale down to its death. The more likely explanation is that the "snake" was the arm of a large squid in battle with the whale.
Do giant squid attack men? There is at least one report, also from World War II, of survivors of a sunken ship being attacked by a giant squid that ate one of the unfortunate sailors. There are other unconfirmed accounts of people being menaced by these giants of the sea.
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